*The Isle of a Flightless Bird(Me)
I can’t really talk about something I don’t have or understand. I am the stereotypical girl who looks up in the sky to see the birds flying, and wishes I could join them. I have lived in that same house with the same people with the same small town for my whole life. I can’t say that I want to be here and feel at home here because I grew up on stories of heroes and adventures such as The Tale of Despereaux, Skyrim, Fable, Star Wars, Once, and Assassin’s Creed. So of course I grew up a dreamer, and this boring life of waking up, going to school, playing hockey, sleep, and repeat is not what I want, but since that’s all I get here, it makes me want to leave and never look back. The weird thing is that I don’t feel that I even need a home; I rather travel around meeting many people instead of standing still in one area or another and meeting only a select few. I want to hear the singing of all the stories and adventures this life has to offer, and having a home would get in the way.
To the Friend I Left Behind
For what seems like ages ago, I had a friend named Sofi. From the first moment we sat next to each other on the bus for the first day of kindergarten she was my best friend. Now you might think that’s ridiculous and even call me a liar, but after all we were still little kids that didn’t understand the responsibility of being a good friend. I really wish I did know because then maybe I would have been a better friend not only to Sofi, but to everyone around me. In all honesty, I was quite a donkey-butt back in the day, to put it very mildly and keep it school appropriate.
Sofi and I took every precaution to be the same because at one point we both idolized each other like gods. When Sofi got her ears pierced I begged my mom to let me get mine pierced, and even bought the same exact earrings she wore; those red jewel studs with a golden backing so I could be just like her. Also, we would always run in unison during recess, and this one time we pretended that we were building an igloo for homeless snowmen, and at the end of building them, we were given “awards” of honor. I was trying to give us different awards, but she sure was hellbent on getting the same exact awards as me. We would also only exclusive hang out with each other at one point for a few years. I remember the endless play-dates we had with each other. One time we were drinking hot chocolate after planning the furniture layout of the igloo we told ourselves we would build, but never did, but then we began to put the hot chocolate into our mouths and then spit it back out into the cup to drink it again. For some odd reason, we thought this was hilarious; her mom on the other hand, not so much. We also made a video tutorial to make a PB&J sandwich on her new camera she was so excited about, and at the end I dropped my sandwich. Another time we pretended we were witches during all the Harry Potter hype, and that we could control the wind to knock down all the leaves in the trees during fall.
Unfortunately, the problem with idolizing someone is that you might eventually get jealous of them. I was always so jealous of how good at drawing and art she was; even today almost everything I know about art I learned from her. I would often copy her works of art, but they would never turn out quite right. This often caused me to lash out at her unjustly, and if I had one redo in my life I would spend it on preventing myself from letting envy get the best of me and hurting that innocent Sofi. This bad habit of being envious led me to also have issues with insecurities. I know, hard to believe because now I have an ego the size of the sun, but it took years and years to hoist myself out of that deep and dark pit of self-loathing and get that confidence. The worst part of it all was that even though I treated her like absolute garbage sometimes, she still looked up to me and clung to me like a dependent little puppy that had been kicked one too many times.
On top of that, I was the one that decided to leave her like a mother dog that throws aside the runt of the litter because they don’t think they are strong enough to make it. A little while after I left her behind she eventually moved on from me and made new friends. Every time I saw her with her new friends, I secretly smiled to myself because I thought that she was finally being treated the way she deserved, and in the way I never did treat her. Sadly, that was not true; eventually they treated her like their personal doormat and threw her away, too. When I noticed that they had done this, I felt awful and like I had to do something about it. So I began to talk to her again and sit with her when she was alone. I would ask her about things she liked and would let her do most of the talking while I listened. I also would pounce on every opportunity to complement her and make her smile. This however was not enough because other people still treated her like dirt, and she was still failing some of her classes, and she didn’t seem to care. Eventually she was removed from school because it got so bad.
This shook me to the core so bad that I began to hold on to all my friends very tightly and pick all my words carefully to never hurt anyone’s confidence again. She also influenced my views on civil rights because seeing her get rejected all the time by those around her showed me the importance of being accepting of everyone around me. This is also when I realized I wanted to dedicate my life to help other people which is why I am currently training to be a firefighter. The thing that I find the most peculiar about this whole situation was that when we were hanging out in homeroom when I began to try to cheer her up and before she got pulled out of school, she drew a picture of me while I was reading. It was the most beautiful picture I have ever seen, and I could tell she put a lot of effort into it because it was so realistic. When she showed it to me I blushed and was at a loss for words. Then she tucked it away, and I felt like that was her way of saying she forgives me, even if I don’t think I deserve forgiveness regardless of the fact I made attempts to make amends when we grew older for how I treated her when we were younger. In fact, no amount of “sorry”s or “my bad”s from anyone who ever wronged her could ever make up for what happened, but she’d still forgive them with that good heart of hers.
*Being Named after Catherine the Great
How ironic. Catherine, what a silly word, and that’s why I go by Cat. It means purity and innocence when I’m none of the above. When I asked my parents why they picked my name, they said it was because “Catherine” was traditional; in reality I am constantly rocking the boat of the norm and what is socially accepted. It's not all bad though because I share a name with Catherine the Great. She controlled Russia with an iron fist, and quite frankly she was a total bad-ass who crushed several revolts in her kingdom. She also is considered an enlightened monarch because she enjoyed philosophy and recognized that serfdom was immoral, but Russia's economy depended on it. I do remember a point in my life when I used to hate it whenever people called me anything other than Catherine, but now those days are over because now I am practically repulsed by the sound of it. It's too many syllables, too formal, too pretentious, and don't forget the irony in the meaning. Innocence? Purity?Traditional? Pfft... Have you met me? Then again, giving names definitions is stupid because there are so many different Catherines out there, and who says Catherine means innocence, purity, and tradition? Only Catherines themselves can decide what their name means because after all we own our names, not the government, not our families, and not some sort of higher power.
I Remember the first time I was called Cat; that was definitely a turning point in my life that marked a new chapter and a new me. When I was thirteen years old, I was playing with a new hockey team, and we were all going around in a circle introducing ourselves. I remember nervously pulling my fingers and trying desperately to get the wording right of what I was going to say. We went around the circle, "Tyler, Joe, Chris." When we got to me, it took all my self-control to not have my heart leap out of my chest, "I'm Catherine," I stammered, color rushing to my cheeks. "Hello Cat," my teammates replied.
After that, I could feel a change in side me like the changing of the tides, and all of a sudden I wasn't nervous or scared because I became a lion. Gone was the little timid Catherine who was weak and a pushover that got scared to death over everything.
Her boots are perfect for crushing the patriarch underneath their soles. Her hair is untamable like her personality. She might be mildly blind, but her eyes are wide open. These are a few of her characteristic, but the most important is how educated and eloquent she is. Her knowledge pours like a waterfall going down the mountain. Her cunning wit is like a beacon of light in a dark room filled with ignorance. Her thoughts are so alien and unique; they dance like sugar plum fairies in her head. She is a crisp autumn leaf, so bright and fiery, among dried, decaying, shriveled carcasses. She makes every day count for me and knows how to cheer me up when I’m in a rut. No boy could ever compare to her alluring mind or impress me nearly as much.